As you may not know, I (Steve Kirby), have recently been appointed Western Regional Director of the Austin Healey Club of America (AHCA). My “job” is primarily to liaison with the local Clubs in the Western region and to grow the membership of AHCA.
Currently, only about half of the members of the Austin Healey Association of Southern California and the Golden Gate Austin Healey Club are members of AHCA. San Diego and Oregon do a bit better. So, there’s a lot of opportunity.
I have been a member of AHCA and AHASC since I acquired my Healey 15 years ago. I can’t imagine not being a member of AHCA as it is so complimentary to the activities of the local Club.
The Healey Marque Magazine is the best Car Club magazine that I know of in the country. Worth the price of membership alone. And now there is also a quarterly “E-Zine” featuring history, tech and car stories that won’t Hit in the print magazine.....over 100 pages this last edition alone! Aside from the obvious benefits of joint membership, I think it is a “responsibility” thing as well.
Supporting the National Club supports all the Local Clubs and all the parts and service providers that make it possible to continue to enjoy our cars.
But I couldn’t have said it better than Reid Trummel does in the Open Letter which follows. If you are not an AHCA member, please read on. To join, go to the outstanding website, healeyclub.org.
Open Letter to those who haven’t joined the national Austin-Healey Club of America (AHCA) from Reid Trummel, editor of the Healey Marque magazine and quarterly E-Zine.
I’ve lost count of the number of times over the decades that I’ve encouraged other Healey owners to join the national club and they responded with something like, “I’m not the club type,” or “I don’t have time for a club,” or worst of all, “I don’t need a club.” I’ve tried countless times to address these excuses, usually focusing on the tangible benefits of the club.
If you own a Healey and you’re not interested in the club’s magazine, Healey Marque, let’s just be blunt: there’s something wrong. If you own a Healey and you’re not interested in the features in the magazine – the history of the marque, stories of other owners’ experiences, tech advice and how-to information, sources for parts and service, and many other things – then we have to question what the car means to you. In your mind is it really just a social tool, an entry ticket to a clique? You really care nothing about the history, the people, or the maintenance of these machines? Really? Then of course there are other “club benefits” such as the membership directory that puts you in touch with thousands of other owners, and there are meetings – “activities” – that allow you to meet and enjoy other owners and receive priceless insights on parts sources and repair options and more, to say nothing of the lifelong friendships that often result. There’s also a network of chapters – local/regional clubs - where you can usually get hands-on help with your Healey, not to mention the friends and fun that all go into making Healey ownership all that much better. And none of that has enough value to you to justify paying a measly $70 a year for national club dues? However, these points are only occasionally successful in convincing people of the value of the club, and lately I’ve been taking a larger view and stepping back to take in the big picture of the role and value of the club.
If you own a Healey and you don’t think it’s special, if you don’t think it has soul, if you have no interest in its history, then fine. Sell it. You don’t need it and you certainly don’t appreciate it, and there are plenty of other potential owners who would. But if you do think it’s special, if it means something to you beyond being a transportation appliance, then you should stop being so shortsighted and narrow-minded and join the national club.
Hundreds and hundreds of people, at least, have put in tens and more tens of thousands of hours, at least, to build the network of owners that we currently enjoy. This is a marque that was produced for only 18 years, and that brief run ended over 50 years ago, and yet you can still easily find parts, sources of service and repair, other owners and a schedule of activities – opportunities to enjoy your Healey with other owners – that are all possible only because of the clubs and the effort that all of those people put in over that half-century.
The National Club didn’t magically appear and sustain itself and create all of that on its own. It’s a legacy of the emotion and the soul and the sweat that went into building and preserving it over a long period and has benefited owners whether they know it or not, and whether they appreciate it or not. If you are driving a Healey now, more than 50 years after production of the marque ceased, you have that continent-wide network of owners to thank for it.
So, to the Healey owners who haven’t joined the national club and have actually turned down invitations to join, I say, stop being so ungrateful and narrow-minded and pay the measly annual dues. What we have in this continent-wide association of Healey owners is priceless and can never be duplicated and could never be created again.
If you drive a Healey or you’re restoring one or you’re thinking about getting one back on the road, the club is a huge part of the reason that is even possible, and that is something to be thankful for.
How about showing it? healeyclub.org